2021 Annual report The Alliance in the new CGIAR Portfolio

To transform food, land and water systems in a climate crisis, CGIAR has launched a new portfolio of initiatives to deliver on its 10-year strategy. 

All CGIAR centers are involved in the new initiatives, which currently total 33. The Alliance is leading or co-leading several of these. The initiatives are connected to CGIAR’s five main impact areas: 

  • Climate Adaptation & Mitigation 
  • Environmental Health & Biodiversity 
  • Gender Equality, Youth & Social Inclusion 
  • Nutrition, Health & Food Security 
  • Poverty Reduction, Livelihoods & Jobs 

To explore the full set of initiatives, visit the CGIAR Portfolio Explorer.

Initiatives that are led or co-led by the Alliance:

AgriLAC Resiliente: Resilient Agrifood Innovation Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean 

In spite of its wealth of resources, Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) food systems face climate change and natural disasters, which have eroded economic and food security in the region, destabilizing communities and triggering exports of people instead of food. At the same time, agricultural expansion and intensification, and urbanization, have degraded over 20% of forests and farmlands in the region, with negative effects on productivity, carbon storage and biodiversity, especially in the Andes. More than 30% of Latin American and Caribbean cropland is becoming less suited to changing climates. This initiative, led by the Alliance’s Deissy Martínez-Barón and CIMMYT’s Bram Govaerts, aims to aims increase the resilience, sustainability and competitiveness of Latin American and Caribbean agrifood systems by better equipping them to meet urgent food security needs, reduce climate threats, stabilize conflict-vulnerable communities and reduce out-migration. 

Livestock, Climate and System Resilience 

Low- and middle-income countries urgently need resilient and low-emissions livestock actions to respond to climate change. Livestock are essential to the income and livelihoods of almost 930 million poor Africans and South Asians. About US$311 billion in livestock production value is exposed to various climate hazards, especially drought, climate variability and heat stress. This initiative is led ILRI’s Polly Erikson and the Alliance’s Jacobo Arango. The initiative aims to partner with public and private actors to develop and deliver useable innovations that help producers, businesses, and governments adapt livestock agrifood systems to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to sustainability and development goals across livestock systems. 

Nature +: Nature-Positive Solutions for Shifting Agrifood Systems to More Resilient and Sustainable Pathways 

The homogenization of our food sources and diets has contributed to reduced nutrition outcomes for families, farming incomes, and crop resistance to pests and diseases, collectively diminishing the resilience of smallholder farming systems. The circularity of these problems is exacerbated by misaligned public policies and economic incentives. Taking advantage of a seismic shift in global thinking about how to reorganize our food systems, this initiative aims to create and implement nature-positive agrifood systems that support livelihoods and contribute to nature. This initiative is led by the Alliance’s Carlo Fadda and IWMI’s Josiane Nikiema. 

Plant Health and Rapid Response to Protect Food Security and Livelihoods 

Farming communities, especially in low- and middle-income countries, continue to struggle against plant pests and diseases. Each year, these threats cause 10–40% losses to major food crops, costing the global economy US$220 billion. The trend in the global spread of pests and diseases appears to be accelerating. This initiative, led by CIMMYT’s Prassana Boddupalli and the Alliance’s Mónica Carvajal, aims to protect agriculture-based economies of low- and middle-income countries from devastating pest incursions and disease outbreaks, by leveraging and building viable networks across an array of national, regional and global institutions. 

Ukama Ustawi: Diversification for Resilient Agribusiness Ecosystems in East and Southern Africa 

Some $45 billion USD in agricultural production in East and Southern Africa is at risk from higher temperatures, shorter growing seasons and more extreme droughts and floods. Many of these areas already have pervasive hunger and malnutrition issues, and climate change’s impacts on food production need to be addressed quickly. This initiative, which means “well-being” in Swahili, is led by IWMI's Inga Jacobs  Mata and the Alliance’s Evan Girvetz. It aims to support climate-resilient agriculture in 12 countries and help millions of farmers intensify, diversify and de-risk maize-mixed farming through improved extension services, enterprise development and private investment. 

ClimBeR: Building Systemic Resilience Against Climate Variability and Extremes 

The principal challenge addressed by this Initiative is the poor climate adaptation preparedness of the food and agricultural systems in low- and middle-income countries. Isolated interventions to increase crop yields or strengthen markets no longer suffice; it is critical to transform systems to simultaneously enhance resilience, productivity and equity. This initiative, led by the Alliance’s Ana María Loboguerrero and IRRI’s Jonathan Hellin, aims to increase climate adaptation capacity for food, land and water systems in six low- and middle-income countries. 

Foresight and Metrics to Accelerate Food, Land and Water Systems Transformation 

The challenges facing food, land and water systems are complex. These include hundreds of millions of people living in poverty, roughly two billion people in hunger or suffering nutrient deficiency, and persisting gender gaps. This initiative, led by IFPRI's Keith Wiebe and the Alliance’s Elisabetta Gotor, aims to use data innovatively, employ state-of-the-art analytics, and through dialogue with partners across the globe, offer better insights into alternative transformation pathways to inform decision-making for more inclusive food, land and water systems. 

MITIGATE +: Research for Low-Emission Food Systems 

The global food system produces 21-37% of greenhouse gases. Reducing this figure is imperative to curbing climate change. This initiative, led by the Alliance’s Louis Verchot and IFPRI’s Wei Zhang, aims to reduce global food systems emissions by 6.5% by 2030. Consistent with the Paris Agreement, this initiative focuses on low-emissions food systems development in a manner that does not threaten food production.  

Rethinking Food Markets and Value Chains for Livelihoods, Nutrition and Gender Inclusion 

Food markets have significantly expanded in recent decades but many rural people – those who produce much of our food – suffer from food and nutrition insecurity. Food system deficiencies that contribute to this include poor infrastructure, equipment and standards; incentives that do not foster sustainability, nutrition and inclusiveness; concentrated market power and weak value-chain integration. This initiative, led by IFPRI’s Rob Vos and the Alliance’s Jennifer Wiegel, aims to provide evidence on what types of innovations, incentive structures and policies are needed to address inequality and reduce the food sector’s environmental footprint. 

Transformational Agroecology Across Food, Land and Water Systems

Most current agricultural systems are unsustainable and fail to deliver enough food to hundreds of millions of people. Redesigning this part of the food system – including through wider adoption of agroecology – is urgent to achieve a radical shift toward ecological, economic and social sustainability. This initiative, led by the Alliance’s Marcela Quintero and IWMI’s Matthew McCartney, aims to develop and scale up agroecological innovations across seven low- and middle-income countries.